Father drowns after saving daughter on “unsupervised beach”

The dangers posed by Portugal’s unsupervised west coast beaches has been tragically stressed yet again with the drowning of a 40-year-old father who literally gave his life to save his 13-year-old daughter.

The pair were swimming on Porto Covo’s Praia do Banho, a beach that has no resident lifeguard cover but which is known for its treacherous currents.

Within minutes of the pair getting into difficulties, calls were made by other beachgoers to the authorities, but even with their prompt response, help came much too late.

By the time military lifeguards with the Seawatch programme arrived – backed by firefighters and maritime police – the 40-year-old Brazilian father was in cardiorespiratory arrest, and unconscious.

A desperate two-hour struggle on the sands to revive him finally got some form of response, reports Correio da Manhã.

The man was then rushed by ambulance to Santiago de Cacém hospital, to no avail.

Death was declared in Santiago de Cacém and the traumatised mother and daughter, who had witnesses everything, were offered psychological support.

CM explains that the child suffered scratches after her father managed to push her to safety onto rocks, before he was swept up by the current.

The paper adds that yesterday was the day beaches up and down the country officially opened for the summer season – almost all of them with a full complement of lifeguards.

The problem is that for reasons that now may be reconsidered, the borough of Sines (in which Porto Covo is located) does not open its ‘official bathing season’ until June 15. As a result, there are no lifeguards on any of the borough’s beaches, explains CM.

This year has been particularly ‘black’ in terms of drownings on unsupervised beaches, to the extent that in the Algarve, tourism boss Desidério Silva has called for lifeguard cover to be increased – to run at the very least from the Easter holidays.

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